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The First Bee

by Bernadette Weyde
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The old fishermen thought it very lucky to catch the first bee they happened to see in April. It was the sign of a good herring season, they said.

I have seen men chasing the first bee they saw for a long way, and if they caught her, they kept her in their purse, but if they did not catch her, it was a sign that their earnings would be light.

I knew a man that was born with a caul, and he took it with him in the boat, and I have heard some of the fishermen say it was half-filled with dead bees. He was catching the first bee he saw for many years, and keeping them in the caul, and he was very fortunate when fishing herrings. Whether the caul and bees made him lucky or not I cannot tell.


(sourced: photo; text Manx Notes & Queries (1904) edited by Charles Roeder)

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